Earlier this week I went to the Barbican Centre (in London) with my daughter to see the current exhibition “Digital Revolution”.
I had looked at the website but I still was not sure what I was really going to find. The thing that I was interested in most of all was DevArt, which is billed as “a celebration of art made with code” (unsurprisingly in association with Google) .
When you first walk in you have a concise history of computers, games consoles and some early music equipment, and it makes you wonder if this is going to be the focus of the whole event. However, as you progress through the various areas one thing that really comes across is that this is an art exhibition – the fact that the tools used are digital is largely irrelevant, but at the same time the defining aspect of the pieces. These works are art – interactive, involving, breath-taking, fun.
Of all the parts of the exhibition, the only aspect that was a disappointment was DevArt. Here the pieces were interactive but several did not live up to expectations – the effects did not work as well as hoped or some of the interactive software was too complex and it was not clear what you had to do. We did not experience this anywhere else.
Below are some videos I shot as we were going around. Taking pictures was not possible as the darkness in most areas made the images from my phone go far too grainy – besides, still pictures would not do this exhibition justice. Most things here move. Video is the way to go. Hopefully the clips will give you the desire to see more and go to the exhibition itself if you can. It is excellent value for money and definitely one for children too.
Here are some highlights:
Sound & Vision has many interesting items, in particular a look at some special effects from the films Gravity and Inception…
… and a full-on audio-visual experience from will-i.am:
State of Play, with its main feature The Treachery of Sanctuary (three large white screens that take your movement and add some avian magic) is one of the standout installations:
Finally, this is probably my favourite. “Marshmallow Laser Feast Forest” is not in the main building but a five-to-ten minute walk down the road; even so, do not miss this. You enter a dark room. It is filled at intervals with many long black vertical tubes from the top of which shoot green laser beams. You walk through the “forest” tapping the “trees” as you go, each pole giving off a musical note that slowly fades. Brush a number of trees and you experience a gentle musical dissonance. If you ever fancied yourself as a ringer of small bells this is right up your street.